Have you ever worked outside the UK?
During my years studying the Sun, I calculated I've travelled over 150,000 km. That's over a third of the way to the Moon. I had the opportunity to work at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Japan. This was a fantastic experience since it was the centre of operations for the YOHKOH satellite, and it was great fun seeing the data come down from the spacecraft almost immediately.
So what is it like living in the Far East?
It was wonderful living in Japan for a while and in many ways it has become a second home. The country is a fascinating collection of contrasts, a delightful mix of the old and the new. There is the furious pace of the futuristic 'Bladerunner' streets of Shinjuku, to the Zen calm of the Shinto temples in Takayama.
My top tips for Japan are:
1) I learnt how to throw people around the room (a martial art commonly known as Aikido).
2) Raw fish can be tasty except when it's octopus!
3) The best bath is a really hot, deep one (Japanese baths are heaven)!
4) Earthquakes are scary (at first we just thought they had very, very large trucks in Japan!)
5) If you get lost you can guarantee that at least 10 people will stop to give directions (all different!)